Negro History Bulletin, Jan-Dec 2001 p9(10)
Tracing trails of blood on ice: commemorating "the Great Escape" in 1861-62 of Indians and Blacks into Kansas. Willard B. Johnson.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Inc.

My heart raced and emotions surged before I consciously grasped the meaning of what I was reading in that footnote. Reading all the footnotes had become routine for me, because ages ago I learned that important information about my people and my interests would more often than not be buried there, if mentioned at all. But, here was something really startling to me--mention of Humboldt, Kansas. That tiny southeast Kansas town had been the lifelong hometown of my grandmother, Gertrude Stovall (who was 101 years old when she died in 1990), and it is where I plan to be buried, amidst five previous generations of my mother's family. Here it was being specifically proposed as the place for an event that, had it occurred, might very significantly have impacted if not altered American history during the Civil War.

The footnote quoted a letter to President Lincoln from emissaries of Opothleyahola, a legendary leader of the traditionalist faction of the Muskogee Indians (whom the whites called "Creeks"). I had come to focus on this leader in my quest to understand the famous "Trails of Tears" over which almost all of the Indians of the southeastern states had trekked when they were forced out of their traditional homeland to "Indian Territory" (now Oklahoma). (1)

In the letter, the Native American leader was proposing to convene all the mid-western Indian tribes in a gigantic General Council meeting, to demonstrate their continued loyalty to the Union and to secure enforcement of the treaties that his people had signed with the United States government decades before. Now they needed to meet to make good on those pledges. Of all places, Opothleyahola proposed to hold that meeting in Humboldt! (2)

In researching the story behind this note, I was able to tie together many disjointed strands of family and folk history. The answers to questions such as why it was that so much of the black family folklore of this region spoke so vaguely of having Indian connections; how it was that some of our black families seemed to have been among the first settlers in that area of Kansas; how it was that some spoke of having come through Indian Territory; and why and how it was that after the Civil War so many black families returned to or stayed in Indian Territory became more clear.

Understanding the connections between African Americans and Native Americans is difficult and sometimes painful because these connections were quite complex and ranged from marriage, brotherhood, and adoption into families, to Indian enslavement of blacks. (3) That many African Americans had shared the suffering of Native Americans on the Trail of Tears had come to my attention through the writings of a family friend, former Cherokee principal chief, Ms. Wilma Mankiller. (4) Many of the blacks who were forcibly relocated with the Indians were natural or adopted family members, or incorporated communities, but perhaps as many as four thousand of them had been slaves. (5) They shared all the ordeals of the removals. (6)

Chief Mankiller had pointed out that the role of blacks in this story was not widely known and had never been prominently commemorated. That prompted me to attempt to correct this fault by proposing such a commemoration to the Kansas Institute for African American and Native American Family History (KIAANAFH), which I had founded in 1991, in part to honor the memory of my Grandmother Stovall, to preserve and use her rich collection of stories and memorabilia and that of other long-established families in the area, and to better understand and teach the history of the African American pioneers in Kansas. (7)

Many of us in the Institute were Kansas-connected African American educators and religious leaders who had heard mention of Indian connections and long marches in our own family folklore, but we knew no details. The ordeals blacks had shared with Indians, just as those of slavery itself, became muted in if not dropped from, the conversation of our people as they attempted to forget the past and look resolutely forward to better days. In our day they still speak only vaguely of their Indian ties. We wondered if we could flesh out and document these stories and understand their significance, and determine if they would provide the framework for a suitable commemoration.

We found many families totally unaware that their connection to Indians could possibly have been through enslavement to them. The fact of Indians as slaveholders is not very evident in any popular understanding of American history. Although perhaps no more than ten percent of the households of the Five Civilized Tribes ever owned any slaves, they profoundly affected the fate of both the Native Americans and African Americans in the South and the Midwest. (8)

The institution of black slavery among some of the Indian societies differed a bit from that among whites. For example, some of the blacks who had experienced the earlier Upper Creek removals traveled in parties with no Indian supervisors, yet did not attempt to escape on the way or after arrival--evidence that their experience of "slavery" among the Creeks was far different from that they would have known in the Southern slaveocracy or perhaps even among the Cherokee. (9)

The history of these tribes was also powerfully affected by the commitment of members of the secret Cherokee "Keetoowah society," who vehemently opposed assimilation of many aspects of European-American culture, and extended that to include slavery. Thus, even the slavery connection between blacks and Indians was a complex one. (10)

There is some controversy about how and why, in the end, both those who had accepted the removals (the "Treaty Party") and their adversaries among Chief John Ross's faction of the Cherokees, as well as the leadership of the "Lower Creeks," decided to join the Confederacy during the Civil War. (11) It would have been hard for the Indians to defend their territory once they were surrounded on three sides by Confederate states--Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. Even the "Indian Agents" sent by the government in Washington to work among the Indians, were often secret advocates of the Confederacy who played on Indian fears by arguing that the Union could not protect them, and that most of the money for the annuities that Washington had pledged to these nations in return for relinquishing their former lands were actually backed by bonds of the Southern states, and thus would be worthless promises from the Union. So for personal, political and economic reasons most of the Indian leadership, except for Opothleyahola, felt that the safer bet was with the South! (12)

Like John Ross, Opothleyahola had owned slaves and was a major trader and plantation owner, even after the resettlement in Indian Territory. Also like Ross, he had resisted removal of the Indian nations from their traditional homelands to territory West of the Mississippi, but had then seen it as the only way to get free of white encroachment. But, more importantly, he was a vehement enemy of assimilationist Creek "half breed" leaders from the more mixed Lower Creeks. Indeed he played a direct role in provoking, if not carrying out a Creek Council death sentence on one of the earliest of the Lower Creek leaders, the elder Chief William McIntosh, who illegally sold Creek lands to encroaching whites, and whose descendants never forgot or forgave the execution. The McIntosh clan led the Creek removal to Indian Territory, and with slave labor as a foundation, reestablished themselves as rich and dominant political leadership there. (13)

Once in Indian Territory, and with the continued encroachment of whites from the slave states, Opothleyahola attempted to rally the more "pure blood" elements of his own Creek people and the Cherokees to remain neutral--if not loyal to the Union--in the war. (14) He tried many ways to resist the continued encroachment of whites and the supplications of the Confederacy. (15)

Finally, he sent emissaries to Kansas with letters to President Lincoln in an attempt to extract protection and support from Washington. One of these letters proposed to regroup all the loyal Indian leadership in the meeting to take place in Humboldt. (16) But time ran out, and events overtook him. When John Ross, Chief of the largest of the tribes, finally gave in to pressures to side with the Confederacy, Opothleyahola felt there was no hope for Indian autonomy and cultural survival in the new territory. He planned to flee.

Opothleyahola rallied some 9,000 people, mostly his own Creeks along with a substantial number of Shawnees and Seminoles, and hundreds of blacks (17) (generally males of warrior age to whom he had promised freedom in return for their help), in this desperate break for Kansas, the nearest free state. (18) Their plans were discovered and Native American Confederate loyalists, troops of the Confederate General Douglas Cooper, and even units of Texas Rangers chased them down. The pursuers included Stan Watie, a Cherokee now made an officer in the Confederate army, and Lt. Colonels Daniel and David McIntosh, sons of the slain Chief McIntosh, who had personal scores to settle. (19)

In three major battles nearly a third of the fleeing Indians and many of the blacks were killed. Opothleyahola's followers rather miraculously "won" two of these battles despite being seriously outnumbered. In the first conflict, they got away by subterfuge and stealth. They fooled the pursuing Confederate rebels into thinking that fires they left burning marked their camp, but they had slipped away during the night. Their victory in a second battle was aided by the desertion to their side of the bulk of the Cherokee soldiers who had been sent to fight them under the Confederate army banner, but who were secretly members of the Keetoowah Society. (20)

In the final onslaught, however, they were routed, and the survivors were scattered without clothing, conveyance, or food. In one of the coldest winters on record, the fleeing refugees died by the hundreds from brutal attack, exposure, exhaustion and hunger. They left corpses and trails of blood from Indian Territory to Kansas, over many miles of ice-covered barren prairie and the frozen banks of the Fall,Verdigris and Neosho river basins.

When in January of 1862, the bedraggled remnants, including Opothleyahola himself and his family, finally reached their Kansas destinations, the help they had expected from Union forces was nonexistent. President Lincoln's indecisiveness about waging all-out war and utilizing colored troops and timid Indian agents, who were fearful to venture personally into territory subject to Confederate patrols, to bring help and protection directly to "The Loyal Indians," had delayed the provision of food, clothing and shelter, as well as arms and munitions. Soon thereafter Opothleyahola's daughter died of pneumonia and his own death followed within a year. They were both buried side by side near Ft. Belmont in what is now Woodson County, and not very far from Humboldt.

As early as April of 1862, perhaps because of the prodding of embarrassed Indian agents including William P. Dole, the commissioner, and the leadership of Kansas politicians such as U.S. Senator-made-General James Lane, substantial numbers of the Native American and African American male refugees were permitted to join the Union army. These recruits provided the core of the First Indian Home Guard and the First and Second Kansas Colored Regiments.

These units were actually the first colored soldiers to engage in armed battle on the Union side in the Civil War--preceding the more recognized Massachusetts 54th. Ultimately, they won crucially important battles, including ones at Cabin Creek and Honey Springs, that kept the supply routes open for the Union troops at Fort Gibson in Indian Territory, led to the recapture of Fort Smith in Arkansas, and helped to sustain the pincer pressure on Little Rock, Arkansas. The success of each of which were important factors in the defeat of the Confederacy in the western areas. (21)

Opothleyahola's promise of freedom to all those blacks that joined in the escape to Kansas (mostly men of warrior age) was kept during the brief time of his remaining life, and after his death, by the successor Creek leaders. In discussions in Kansas in 1863, they drafted a new treaty that acknowledged "the necessity, justice, and humanity" of the Emancipation Proclamation, and promised to provide land for their freedmen "and all others of the African race who shall be permitted to settle among them." (22)

This was in keeping with the action by the Seminole leadership decades earlier, who in the negotiations to settle the Seminole wars and to arrange for that tribe's removal to Indian Territory, refused to allow the U.S. officials to separate the Indian and the African components of the tribe. Ironically, some of the same black interpreters participated in each of the discussions which provided for citizenship rights to the blacks. (23)

The 1863 Creek treaty, which was subsequently rejected by the Creeks because it had been amended by the U.S. Congress, occurred about the same time as a resolution was passed by the Cherokee National Council, likely influenced by Keetoowah members, to abolish slavery and promise full citizenship in these Indian Nations to the freedmen.

I had heard vague stories in my youth that not only my own, but several of the early African American families to settle in the Humboldt area had Indian connections, and had involved lost land, perhaps oil revenue and other rights. Such stories were not unusual among the African American families with whom we in the KIAANAFH were working. Could these stories be fleshed out and documented? I remembered hearing of my grandmother's legal inquiries about rights that might still be due her through her grandfather Charley Davis, who had been born in the late 1840s in Tahlequah, the Cherokee Capital in Indian Territory, and whose Kern-Clifton Cherokee roll number she had carefully preserved. She had been told only that "time had run out for such claims."

After my grandmother's death, when I started to research that dimension of our family history, I was as surprised as anyone to find that the roll was only for freedmen. Did he have any blood tie? There was no information passed down about that, and it seems he never claimed one. His Freedman connection had produced a payment in the 1890s of considerable importance to his family, but he died soon thereafter before it was renewed or extended to his children. It was not easy to pursue his genealogy, but with the help of staff at the National Archives in Washington D.C., I was finally able to copy his affidavit that, backed by three witnesses, named his owner. I have since discovered much about that owner, but so far I have yet to document Davis's life before Humboldt. We are not even sure exactly when and how he came to Humboldt. Perhaps he had no direct connection with the Great Escape. But it seemed likely that some black families did.

I wondered if the Great Escape story would throw light on the more general pattern of the coming of the first black families into Southeast Kansas area. Could these families have come in the Escape itself, or its immediate aftermath? How could we piece together a plausible answer to such questions?

In pursuit of information about my own ancestors I was struck by several features of the 1860 federal census rolls for Arkansas, which includes the schedules for Indian Territory. Most notably, nearly all the Creek Indians were listed as "Black." Would that designation have today's significance?

I had read about extensive African and Creek mixing. After all, it was probably to the Creeks that blacks had escaped as early as 1526 from L. Vasquez deAyllon's shipwrecked settlement on the Carolina coast. I had read about the ancient Creek migrations from the Southwest, where the indigenous populations were considerably darker than the Cherokee and other Iroquoian speaking peoples of the East, and may have mixed with Africans during early Spanish exploration and colonial times, as seems evident among Mexican populations, and some say even well before that! But could such mixing have been so extensive as to affect the majority of the Creeks? (24)

I began to suspect these particular white census enumerators impulsively listed persons of dark complexion simply as "black." This would not necessarily reflect the standard "one-drop" American practice and imply "African." Moreover, many of the dark Creek Indians have very straight hair, so I became skeptical.

Another interesting feature of the census for Indian Territory was the special note by the enumerator that the Seminoles refused ever to allow a listing of "slaves"; it seemed to be a reaffirmation of the earlier removal-treaty negotiation experience. However, the Seminoles, whose Nation arose out of a significant social, political, and genetic integration of persons of Native American and African American background, were not all listed as "black." Perhaps the color designations for the Creeks were valid clues to their identity after all.

The key breakthrough in this genetic conundrum came with an examination of an adjutant general's descriptive record of the First Indian Home Guard Regiment, where color designations were quite nuanced. Seven variations were used, from "light," to "Indian," through "red" and "copper" to "black" and "Negro" and even "African." The majority did not fall on the darker end of this range, but I did count about fifty persons in the last three categories.

Most importantly for me, this group included a Daniel Landrum, whose color was described as "Negro." I knew we had Landrums in my own extended family, and they had hailed from Neosho Falls, one of the towns where the refugees in the Great Escape had encamped. So, I went back to the state census records for the Woodson and Allen County areas in 1865, the earliest full record that would have been taken after the Great Escape. Lo and behold, there were scores of "black" persons having come from "the Creek Nation," or "the Seminole Nation," or other parts of "Indian Territory." They must have come on the Escape, or immediately in its aftermath, because they were not in the 1860 federal census for the Kansas territory. Among them were surnames I knew from personal experience to include African American families--Crosslin, Grubbs, Jackson, Perryman, Ross, Vann.

Several families, living close to each other in Neosho Falls were enumerated as "Landam," which is not a name I could find in the standard lists of Cherokee or Creek freedmen, but Landrum does show up in them. One Benjamin Franklin Landrum, a Cherokee slaveholder, had achieved some notoriety for having taught his slaves to read. (25) I was very excited to find that Daniel Landrum had enrolled in the Indian Guards at Leroy, a town near Neosho Falls. He rather quickly deserted from the Indian Guards, but appears to have enlisted soon thereafter in Company C of the Second Kansas Colored Regiment, where he became a petty officer. Maybe this was one of Benjamin Landrum's former slaves who could read, and perhaps that capacity was more appreciated in the Colored Regiment than in the Indian Guard. Who knows? (26)

There was also a Jackson in the Guards and Jacksons living among Landrums as listed in the 1870 federal census, when there were still several branches of Landrums in Neosho Falls. Some included first names--a Franklin and a Benjamin--that show up a decade later among my Landrum family connection (by chance?). The Landrums had married Jacksons. The records are not detailed enough for a definitive conclusion, but it seems very likely that these are branches of the same families.

I once again looked at the records regarding the pioneer black families of Humboldt. Several of those already there in the early 1860s had been born in Indian Territory, were enumerated as Indians, or were married to Native Americans. One of the most interesting was "Aunt Polly" Crosslin (later known as Crosby), in whose cabin the town's "Colored Church," the Poplar Grove Baptist Church, was later founded (in the late 1870s). That church has been the heart of Humboldt's community of blacks and Indians ever since. She was one of the earliest African Americans to settle in the town, was married to an interpreter for the Seminoles, and is reputed to have been a Cherokee freedman from Florida or Alabama. She, like others in the town, is reported to have harbored escaping slaves in her cabin, which had a trap door over a tunnel that ran to the nearby river bluffs. (27)

It had become evident that several of the pioneer black families in the Humboldt area indeed had Indian connections and at least some of them, including distant branches of my own family, most likely did come into area as part of the drama of the Escape. Some of these families stayed. Others may have returned to Indian Territory. What difference did the Escape episode make in their subsequent life?

The 1866 treaties that settled the Civil War between the U.S. Government and the rebel tribes, especially with the Cherokees and Creeks, renewed and institutionalized the promises that had been made in 1863 as a result of the experience of the Escape and its aftermath. This included some citizenship rights in the Native American nations for those freedmen who were in these territories at the end of the war, or who returned there within six months. Such rights included allotments of land, sharing in the annuity payments, and access to services. Sometimes they included voting and office holding rights. There were many problems and obstacles for the freedmen to overcome in securing the implementation of these provisions, and some who would have qualified were never able to benefit. The tribes varied greatly in applying the provisions of these treaties. The Creeks complied most fully, but the Chickasaws never honored them. Maybe some of the Indian freedmen stayed in Kansas because of these difficulties. Upon their mustering out, however, many of the black soldiers returned to the territories of their respective Indian nations. A great many of the former slave families that had gone into hiding or had camped at Fort Gibson and other Union-controlled forts followed suit.

Despite many later disputes over the accuracy of the rolls taken to allocate the land and annuity payments to the blacks, especially in the Cherokee and Creek nations, a very substantial number of them did get land, annuity payments, and a capital base in Indian Territory. One prominent family that exemplifies what that meant for their subsequent development is the family of the noted historian John Hope Franklin, whose great-grandfather had married a Choctaw, and who became a substantial rancher on land acquired through his Native American and African American freedmen connections. (28)

In the context of the current crescendo of calls for reparations to African Americans, it is important to note that these treaties contained the provisions that actually led to the earliest substantial public compensation that African Americans got explicitly in recognition of their ordeal of slavery in the United States.

Despite the famous promises voiced in conjunction with the federal government's Freedmen's Bureau, but never passed for an allotment to freedmen of "forty acres and a mule," such black landowning as did ultimately develop in the South did not result from such promises of reparations. Amnesty provisions granted by President Andrew Johnson to recanting former rebels resulted in the return of most "confiscated and abandoned" lands to the former slaveholders, and the forced removal of many blacks who had taken control, if not registered ownership, of such lands for farming and husbandry. (29)

Excited by our discovery of these possible special connections with an all-too-obscure American epic, The Kansas Institute helped to organize the first-ever celebration of the role that African Americans as well as the town of Humboldt had played in the Great Escape saga. The ceremony was part of "The Humboldt Historic Days-2000" observance sponsored by the town's Chamber of Commerce. That event is held tri-annually in remembrance of the sacking of the town in September and October of 1861 by Confederate troops, ostensibly in reprisal for the anti-slavery activity of many of its citizens. Descendants participated in a candlelight procession in remembrance of the pioneer African Americans who came to the Humboldt area from Indian Territory.

Of course, one such family featured in this ceremony was that of Daniel Landrum. Special note was made of the presence in the audience of KIAANAFH member Mrs. Eva Franklin, 90-year-old descendant of one of the Jacksons, and of a family that is kin by marriage to and was raised by Landrum descendants. Her niece and KIAANAFH Board member, Mrs. Charlotte Goodseal, commemorated the Landrums in the procession. James Boyd, present-day owner of the property where Aunt Polly's cabin had been located, carried her candle in the ceremony and proudly displayed the iron fireplace shovel she had used in her famous cooking. Seven other pioneer black families, several still with descendants in the area, were also honored. (30)

The program also included spokespersons for the Native American peoples most directly associated with these stories, most particularly the current principal chief of the Muskogee (Creek) nation, Mr. Perry Beaver, who is a distant descendant of Opothleyahola. Two direct descendants, Felix and Thompson Gouge, who now reside in Oklahoma City, represented the family in the candlelight procession. Although there is no evidence that Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee writing system, or members of his family had joined the Escape, the participation of a great granddaughter, Mrs. Mary Atkin, symbolized the crucial assistance given to the Escape by the many Cherokee warriors from the Keetoowah Society.

Everybody, Indian, black and white, pledged together "to seek all the ways possible to alleviate the legacy of racism, slavery and human injustice in our land," a goal obviously still far from being accomplished. Their attentive faces seemed to reflect proud recognition of a shared and fateful connection to one of the country's most gripping sagas of resistance, survival and ultimate triumph. (31)

Perhaps the ceremony's participants and audience also wondered, as I did, how different the history of these relationships might have been had Opothleyahola succeeded to convene on Humboldt's Neosho riverbank bluffs his requested "Grand Council of all the tribes"--to pledge their "loyalty" to the Union, and to enforce the earlier treaties. Would President Lincoln have been able or willing to defend the sovereignty (the neutrality?) of these factious and slaveholding tribes? No doubt, the tribes would have had to renounce slavery, but would they have granted citizenship to the freedmen? Would even the debate of the issue have moved Lincoln more quickly to use colored troops, and equally as important, draft or at least announce his Emancipation Proclamation much earlier? Would the slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes have come subsequently to share Indian land and annuity rights, or like the Africans in the rebelling states, would they have been considered simply as the federal government's wards, dependent on the ultimately unfulfilled promises of the Freedmen's Bureau? Would the many all-black towns have emerged in Indian Territory--derived from enclaves of landed and self-reliant, if marginalized, black Indians, or would these have been located in Kansas instead? Would Blacks and Indians alike have nurtured memories of their many shared ordeals, or let them sink even further into the shadows of their historical amnesia?

NOTES

(1) Annie Helloise Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, with an Introduction by Theda Purdue and Michael D. Green (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992): 242-47 and note 489.

(2) Quoted in Ibid., note 491.

(3) See J. Leitch Wright, Jr., Creeks and Seminoles, (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1986): 73ff, for detailed and informed discussion of the extensive and long-lasting mixing of Africans especially with the Creek speaking peoples (the Muscogulges); Able, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 23, note 14.

(4) Wilma Mankiller, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993): 94.

(5) Estimates vary on this point. William Loren Katz, Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage, (New York: Athenaeum, 1986): 138. Katz suggests that, not counting the Seminoles (who may have used the term to protect family members), these tribes still had over 5000 slaves in 1860.

(6) John Ehle, Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, (New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday, 1988): 361. For characterization of the impact of removal see Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 20-21; Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History since 1492, (Normal: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987):76; Russell Thornton, The Cherokees: A Population History. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990), passim; and Katz, Black Indians, 138.

(7) Mankiller, Mankiller: A Chief and Her People, 94.

(8) KIAANAFH: Round Table on The African American--Native American Connection., 11 July 1998, transcript, Kansas City, (c/o Willard R. Johnson MIT E53-367 Cambridge, MA 02139).

(9) Daniel F. Littlefied, Jr., Africans and Creeks: From the Colonial Period to the Civil War, (Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1979): loc. cit. Cf. Rudi Halliburton, Red Over Black: Black Slavery among the Cherokee Indians, (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1977) for a "non-romanticized" assessment of slavery among the Cherokees. For more balanced views see Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, passim, and articles by editor and by Patrick Minges in the Bulletin of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, (Spring 1999).

(10) Patrick Minges, "Are You Kituwah's Son?: Cherokee Nationalism and the Civil War," Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting, Philadelphia Pennsylvania, November, 1995, passim.

(11) "Treaty Party" refers to the few Cherokee leaders who, in 1834, accepted plans of President Jackson (but a project since the Jefferson Presidency) for a treaty to provide for the transfer to whites of Native American traditional lands for payments and territory further west. The term "Lower Creeks" was used by whites and had no traditional significance. See Ehle, Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the Cherokee Nation, 259-92.

(12) Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, chapter iv.

(13) Littlefield, Africans and Creeks, 116-29.

(14) Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 140, note, cites remarks by Confederate agent Albert Pike that "Opothleyahola ... was not loyal: he feared the McIntoshes, who had raised troops, and who, he thought, meant to kill him for killing their father. He told me that he did not wish to fight against the Southern States, but only that the Indians should all act together." These were self-serving remarks by Pike who was supposed to recruit the Indians to the Confederacy.

(15) Christine Schultz White, and Benton R. White, Now the Wolf Has Come: The Creek Nation in the Civil War, (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996): passim.

(16) See Ibid.; review of Now the Wolf Has Come by Daryl Morrison in Kansas History, 19:3 (Autumn 1996), and Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist, 244 and 247k.

(17) Figures vary from source to source. See KHS - Kansas Historical Society files of archeologist Randy Thies: "Collections Relating to Tri-County Area of Greenwood, Elk, and Wilson Counties" by Ronald B. Ellis (1985); Patrick Minges (November 1995): 20, who says Opothleyahola's forces included "700 armed blacks"; Edwin C. Bears's "The Civil War Comes to Indian Territory, 1861, The Flight of Opothleyahola" Journal of the West 11 (April 1972): 9-42, and Jay Monaghan, Civil War on the Western Border: 18541865, (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1955): 219-20, who says "Many runaway slaves from other tribes joined the throng ..." (and on 221, that) "Confederate Indians accused him [Opothleyahola] of driving off ... three or four hundred of their slaves." Also, KHS, "The Seminoles in the American Civil War" (297) listing the various Indian nations with Opothleyahola w states "The party also included several hundred Negroes," and Angle Debo, The Road to Disappearance: A History of the Creek Indians, (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1941): 150

(18) Jonathan D. Greenberg, Staking a Claim: Jake Simmons and the Making of an African-American Oil Dynasty,(New York: Athenaeum, 1990). Both Littlefield (247) and Greenberg (28) quote Commissioner of Indian Affairs, D.N. Cooley's 1866 Annual Report reference to this promise. Littlefield earlier (236) noted this promise, but implied (239) that the Kansas treaty negotiations that first really legalized it came just after Opothleyahola's death, and like Debo (161), implies it was the black interpreter Harry Island who really accomplished this.

(19) The units were led by Col. James McIntosh (no relation to Chief William), who is reported (3) by Meserve to have been a general and a graduate of West Point. Cf. White & White and Daryl Morrison's book review for more on this engagement.

(20) See accounts of these battles in Abel, The American Indian as Slaveholder and Secessionist; Annie Helloise Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865, with an Introduction by Theda Purdue and Michael D. Green, (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1992); Lela J. McBridge, Opothleyahola and the Loyal Muskogee: Their Flight to Kansas in the Civil War, (Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers, 2000, and White and White.

(21) See Monahgan, Civil War on the Western Border, chapter XXII., and Abel, The American Indian in the Civil War, 1862-1865, chapter XII.

(22) Littlefield, 239.

(23) See Jonathan D. Greenberg for a gripping account of some of these events. Also see Abel, 1993, Chapter VIII especially, for a detailed, if opinionated account of the treaty discussions, and Littlefield for a more brief, but balanced assessment of them.

(24) L. Wright Jr., Creeks and Seminoles, 73ff.

(25) See Theda Perdue, Slavery and the Evolution of Cherokee Society, 1540-1866, (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1979): 89.

(26) "Descriptive Report of First Indian Home Guard. Records of Union Volunteer Organizations," vol. I National Archives and Records Administration Record Group 94, Record of Adjutant. Also see Kansas Adjutant General's Report, 1861-1865, vol. I, (Topeka, KS: Kansas State Printing Co., 1896): 605.

(27) Cf. obituary in The Humboldt Union, 2 May 1912, said she had lived in the area since "before the war" but a letter from Mrs. W.T. McElroy, in the 9 May 1912 issue said after the war. Several articles in a Humboldt Union series called "Neosho Valley Facts and News," by Audrey Z. McGrew, mention her. See especially 30 March 1950. An unpublished typescript of an oral history taken mostly from Gertrude Stovall by one Nat Armel (date unknown) called "Slave Running in Allen County, Kansas" calls her Crosibyand and mentions her underground railroad like activity.

(28) John H. Franklin and John W. Franklin, eds., My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Franklin (Indiana University Press, 1999): passim.

(29) Cf. John H. Franklin, From Slavery to Freedom: A History of Negro Americans, (New York: Random House Vintage Books, 1969): 302ff & 307 especially; Lerone Bennett Jr., Before the Mayflower: A History of the Negro in America 1619-1966, (Chicago: Johnson Publishing Co., 1966): 184ff, and W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America 1860-1880, (New York: World Publishing Co. Meridian Books, 1964): 252ff. For examples of the impact of Amnesty see John W. Graves, Town and Country: Race Relations in an Urban-Rural Context, Arkansas, 1865-1905, (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1990): 74ff., and Howard A. White, The Freedmen's Bureau in Louisiana., (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1970): 48ff.

(30) Charley Davis, a Cherokee freedman and the author's great-great grandfather likely came to Humboldt a bit later (family lore says in 1870, but we do not know from where.) The other black pioneer families, besides the Landrums, with very likely direct Great Escape connections that were commemorated were those of Perry Adams, "Aunt Polly" Crosby (Crosslin), Chora Graves, Nathan Jackson, Elizabeth Payne, Lewis Rogers, and Andrew Tecumseh.

(31) The pledge was written by Rev. Robert L. Baynham, the master of ceremonies, and KIAANAFH vice president, and led by him and Chief Beaver.

Willard R. Johnson, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Political Science Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts)